Chapter 1: A Familicide is a Better Parent . . .
Petunia Dursley looked down at the basket on her front step. There was a baby in it. She looked around—was someone in her wonderfully normal neighborhood playing some sort of prank? No, no one was watching her. She would have known; as an expert peeper herself, she knew how to spot someone spying. So maybe someone thought that her normal house was in fact some sort of church? She knew it happened all the time with churches, but her house looked about as far from a church as it was possible for a good Anglican home to be.
Well then. She knelt and opened the letter in the basket. After a few minutes, she glared at the baby sleeping contentedly. "Fuck Wizards." She didn't swear, but this was a special occasion. She put the letter in the basket and stared at it some more. "You know," she said to the sleeping child. "I can't raise you. I hate Wizards. They took my sister and then they killed her. I'd be a terrible person to raise a Wizard. And Vernon . . . he really hates anything not normal. I just wish there was some safe place for you to go—" The basket was gone from her step.
She blinked at the open space for a few moments. Then she picked up the milk and went inside, resolved to mention this to all of no one. Ever.
Kisame yawned. It was too godsdamn early in the morning to have to be awake, but the life of the nukenin was filled with unexpected hardships. You think that once you quit your village, you're free to do as you like and then you discover that you need to pay the bills and so you have to take jobs you don't want anyway. Next thing you know, you're waking up just as early as before, only now you don't have a warm bed to sleep in first. Still, people got much less bent out of shape when he killed civilians, so it was better.
Madara had given him an interesting partner, too. It was a real trip for him. His partner was thirteen. Seriously. What the hell? And to top it off, the kid was ex-ANBU and had murdered his whole family in one night before escaping his village with no one the wiser. Even that freak Momochi hadn't been that messed up. Kisame was confident in his power, but he wasn't afraid to admit that Itachi scared the shit out of him sometimes.
There was a rustle in the bushes. That would be his partner coming back from a morning ablutions. Kisame looked up. Then he blinked a few times, just to check his eyes were working. He tried pinching himself. As a last resort, he dumped a tenth of his chakra into a dispelling. At last, he decided to admit that this seemed to be real. "Itachi," he said to the stoic youth. "Is that a baby?"
Itachi looked down at the bundle in his arms and then up at Kisame. "Yes."
The three of them entered the main tower in Ame. There was the usual silence from Itachi, but Kisame was not engaging in banter of any sort. They rode the lift up to the central chamber and stepped inside to face the man who called himself Pein.
"Leader-sama," said Kisame. He paused. How the hell did he put this to the man pretending to lead a terrorist organization? Then he decided to just get this over with. "Itachi brought a baby back with us."
The orange haired man with piercings adorning his face blinked. Eyes filled with rings looked around as though searching for the prank. "What?"
"Yeah. That was pretty much my reaction, too." Kisame admitted.
"I'm going to raise him," interjected Itachi. "Nostalgia." When he received blank stares, he went on, "my little brother would be about this age now."
"And?" prompted Pein when no further statement seemed to be forthcoming.
"And?" replied Itachi.
Pein threw his hands up in the air. "Just don't let it interfere with your work." He turned to look at a blue haired woman beside him. "Why do I feel like my life has just become more complicated?"
Hidan stormed into the room and proceeded to, in a friendly way, attempt to disembowel Itachi. The fourteen-year-old dodged without looking up from his book. After two more swings, he noticed that someone was attacking him and looked up.
"Your brat . . ." Hidan pointed at his head. A dirty nappy was dangling off of it, covering the side of his face. "He hit me in the head with this."
Itachi looked at Hidan neutrally.
"Alright, so I was saying to him that I was waiting for him to get old enough to be scared and then I'd sacrifice him, but still."
"And then his stupid cloth comes flying off his ass and smacks me in the face."
Hidan growled. "That's the whole story."
"You're saying," Itachi asked slowly, "that he managed to somehow just move his napkin from his body to your face?"
"It flew off him, yes."
"Flew? Not like he tossed it?"
"So why do you think it was him?"
"There wasn't any other fucker in the room, was there? It had to be that little shit-maker."
"I see. Just for your own safety, a question: did you hurt Hari?"
"Fuck no. I know what'd happen if I did that. You don't care if I take a few swings at you, but if I cough at the little bastard, you'd cut my dick off and shove it somewhere. I figured a few threats were okay though, y'know?"
"I see." Itachi walked slowly from the room. As he did, his foot accidentally slipped and smashed into Hidan's groin. "Don't threaten my son, Hidan."
Pein looked up from his map of the world to see Itachi at the door. "Yes?"
"Apparently Hari is doing something odd. I don't know how, but he managed to fling his soiled napkin into Hidan's face without removing it. Or something like that. Hidan is indisposed at the moment, so I can't ask further questions."
Kisame, standing beside the map, started to snicker.
"As odd as that is, Itachi," said Pein. "I can't help but wonder: why are you coming to me?"
"I was hoping you'd take a look at him, Leader-sama. To see if there is anything to . . . see." He finished lamely.
Pein sighed and walked around the map-table. "Alright then. Kisame, do ask Kakuzu to please have a word with Hidan. I would like the two of them in working shape for this afternoon."
The two Doujutsu users left the room together.
"I'm sorry about this." That was all the Leaf team heard before things went horribly wrong for them. For two of the chūnin, it was the last thing they heard. Their heads became detached from their bodies and rolled on the road.
For Jian, it was merely the last thing he heard before the whole world went dark.
When he opened his eyes, it was to a dark cave and one of the most infamous ninja to ever come from Leaf Village. He whimpered and wet himself. "What do you want?"
"I have a deal to offer you," replied Itachi. "You use your Byakugan to tell me what's wrong with this child, and I'll leave you alone. Or you can be stupidly brave and I torture you to death. Then I go back to Leaf and find your immediate family and torture them too, just to be sure. Your choice." He gave a slight smile which had all the warmth of a shark's (he'd been taking lessons from Kisame).
Itachi had taken the step of kidnapping a Hyūga simply because Leader-sama, with his Rinnegan, had been unable to identify exactly what it was that was wrong with Hari. Sort of. He was able to tell that Hari had a very developed set of chakra coils—far more than an infant should. Itachi smiled at that, his son was going to be a powerhouse someday. That had probably been why something had been flung. Maybe. But Leader-sama had also spotted something in that odd scar on his son's forehead. Leader-sama hadn't been able to explain that and had recommended consulting the Hyūga.
Jian activated his Byakugan and looked at the toddler presented to him. It was about two years old, give or take, though its chakra network was far beyond that and resembled an adult's. Messy black hair and pale skin suggested that this was the son of the infamous ninja, but the boy had bright green eyes and everyone knew that Uchiha only had coal black ones. Except, of course, for the Sharingan.
"Um . . . if I had to guess—"
"You don't." Itachi smiled without mirth. "Be certain."
"R-r-right." Jian tried to focus. It was difficult. For some reason, he kept seeing his own death. "It looks . . . that can't be right. It looks as if there's . . ." he turned his face to Itachi. "I think there's a person in that mark on his forehead. Wait, no." He held up a hand. "Not a person exactly. Maybe a bit of a person? I can see part of an independent chakra-network that's partly grafted into his. So I guess . . . well, it's the best way to put this . . . maybe a bit of a soul in there? Or something. It's not something I've seen before or anything."
Itachi stared at Jian until the older male shivered. "Interesting."
"I mean, I'm not sure it's actually a soul. It's definitely part of a chakra network. I can't think of any way for that to happen at all, honestly. So I'm unfortunately having to make some assumptions. I know that grafted limbs just become part of the recipient's network and this is clearly an extra-network thing." Jian focused on the subject and let himself ease his worries as he did.
"A soul . . ." Itachi looked up at the ceiling. "Very well." He nodded at Jian. "As promised, I shall leave you alone now."
"Thank—" There was a meaty thunk as a kunai slammed into Jian's chest, spearing his heart.
"Your corpse will find itself quite alone in this cave, especially after I collapse the entrance." Itachi patted the man on the head as the man coughed blood and died.
Itachi stared down at the body. Then he blinked. The man's eyes weren't fading. He could not be that lucky. But yes, the eyes still gleamed to his sight with the mark of the Hyūga. "Well then," he murmured as he knelt. "waste not, want not." His hands glowed.
"Itachi," said Kisame as the young man entered their rooms in the Ame tower.
"Is the kid wearing a blindfold?"
"It looks like a blindfold, Itachi. I mean, his eyes are covered by cloth wrapped around his head and everything."
"It's not a blindfold."
"I'm going to regret this. What is it, then?"
"Ah." Kisame sighed. "And why does your brat have bandages across his eyes?"
"Because he's healing."
"I'm going to need a little more here, Itachi."
"I may have performed some field-surgery."
"I . . . found a spare set of Byakugan and decided that I shouldn't waste it."
"You 'found' a Byakugan? Two of them?"
". . . Yes."
"Did you tell Leader-sama?"
"Alright then." Kisame shrugged. Itachi had always been a freak, but since he adopted the kid, he'd become a little less randomly terrifying and a little more just odd. Unless something threatened Hari, then he was scary as fuck.
"A soul in his head?" Pein sounded skeptical.
"That's what the Hyūga said."
The orange-haired man shrugged. "Okay then." Another orange-haired figure stepped from the shadows. Like Pein's primary body, it had black metal rods shoved through its flesh. It reached out and pressed a finger to the livid scar on Hari's forehead.
"Well, that's odd," the two Pein said.
"I can speak Snake now."
"Yeah. I don't get it either. But I just learned Snake. So I'm going to go do something that doesn't involve your son for a while. Maybe the world will go back to making sense."
A five-year-old Hari fell from the rooftop that he and his father were sparring on. Twenty feet later, he hit the ground, feet-first. "Goddamn, motherfucking piss-cunt son of a syphilitic whore with crabs and the broken-down donkey in the stable out back she uses to pleasure herself between tricks." He began to walk up the wall back to their training circle.
"Okay. Uncle Hidan is no longer allowed to babysit."
Seven-year-old Hari ducked under a spray of black fire from his father's Sharingan. His blank eyes stared straight ahead as he dove to his right, kunai slamming into the rooftop they still used for most of their spars. He drew a handful of tags and activated them, tossing them behind him at his father as he leapt from the roof to the next building. There was just enough time to hear, "what the—" before the explosion destroyed their sparring ring.
A moment later, he spotted his father's chakra following him, more fire racing towards his position. That was to be expected; nothing could hurt his dad. Uncle Pein was going to be angry again, though. He hated it when their spars spread to the rest of the village instead of the forests or grasslands outside it. There was just enough time to avoid the three fireballs that set the roof on fire as he jumped to a third building.
Maybe it was time to try something else? He turned as he jumped and his hands flashed through a series of signs. False Darkness burst from his palms and Itachi had to spin to the side to avoid the bolt of lightning. Hari fired a second one and turned to focus on running while his father got out of the way.
"Uncle Kakuzu hasn't been keeping me appraised, I see," his father's voice said next to his ear. Then things went dark.
Ten-year-old Hari walked beside his father and Uncle Kisame as they returned to Ame. It had been a quiet mission—which meant that none of them had been forced to actually work killing the bandits that attacked. Uncle Kisame had been really nice and let Hari have his share too. While Hari had been with his father on jobs pretty much since he was found, he had begun taking part after he'd nearly hit his father with False Darkness three years ago and had been informed that if he was ready to use A-ranked techniques in spars without feeling tired, he was ready to deal with untrained bandits. He'd improved from there. This time, there had been a B-rank ninja that he'd gotten to fight on his own.
The three of them entered Pein's chamber. The man glanced up from his maps. "I assume everything went well, yes?" He didn't wait for a response. "Good. Itachi, Kisame, I need a word with you."
Hari nodded and stepped out of the room.
"So, things are slowly beginning to come to a head," began Pein. "I understand that Leaf's Power of Human Sacrifice is the last to enter play, but will be doing so within the year if things go well. Sasori's agents tell me that there might be some trouble with that. We may have to take steps to ensure that—"
Itachi looked up. He was about to leave the room when Hari came running in through the window and along the ceiling. The boy dropped, sticking the landing automatically and held out an envelope.
Itachi took it. "To Harry (Hari) Potter, Akatsuki bedchambers, god's Tower, Rain."
Pein coughed. "What?"
Kisame looked over Itachi's shoulder. "Is that parchment? Who uses parchment? I mean, aside from serious seal-masters."
Itachi faced Pein. "Shall I open it?"
"NO!" Pein shouted. "You three take it outside Rain and use clones to check it."
"Understood, Leader-sama," Itachi turned to his partner and son. A clone formed next to him and grabbed the letter. "Let's go."
The three landed in a clearing in Grass. Kisame created a pair of water clones, Hari added a pair of shadow clones. They sat down. Itachi meditated, Kisame petted Samehada, Hari pretended to meditate and instead just wondered why someone had sent him a letter.
After forty seconds, the three of them jumped as they heard a cry of, "What the flying fuck?" in Itachi's voice.
"Dad," said Hari, "you're not allowed to hang out with Uncle Hidan anymore. Ow!" He clutched his forehead where his father had poked him while Kisame clutched his stomach, laughing.
They went over to where the clones had gathered. Itachi took the opened letter from his double and began to read. "What the flying fuck?"
Hari jumped to see over his father's shoulder. He didn't need to, but it was a way to amuse himself. "Hogwarts." Jump. "School." Jump. "Of." Jump. "Witchcraft?" Jump. "And." Jump. "Wizardry? Wait, what?"
Kisame leaned over. "Yeah, that's what it says."
"You're sounding like a broken record, kid."
Itachi sighed. "It appears genuine. For a given value of genuine." He looked at his son. "Though I have no idea who sent it, so I can't ask them questions."
"You mean like if they're serious or just fucking with us like some teenage girl being toyed with by an old man with money and experience who's just using her for her body and plans to discard her like used trash when he's done?"
Sigh. "Yes. I'm going to hurt Hidan again."
Further discussion was cut off as there was a burst of flame beside Hari. The bird that appeared got off half a squawk before False Darkness, a Great Fireball, and Samehada turned it into a mangled bunch of feathers. Which then caught on fire and burned to ash.
"I'll bite," said Hari. "What was that?"
"No idea," muttered Kisame. "But it . . . is that pile of ash moving?" He poked the pile with the tip of Samehada and revealed a small chick with the red-gold plumage of the bird they had just killed.
"It appears that it didn't die." Itachi leaned down and poked the thing with a finger. "By all indications, this is a chick of the same species that we just turned to ash. Odd." The bird burst into flames and disappeared.
The three looked at each other. "So, we have your son being invited to some school that teaches . . ." Kisame snickered. "Magic. And a bird that appears in a cloud of fire instead of smoke and doesn't die when we kill the hell out of it. Somehow, this feels about normal for us."
"So . . ." said Hari. "What do we tell Uncle Pein?"
". . ." Itachi frowned. "I have no idea."
There was another burst of fire. This time, all three just watched as the bird appeared, flapping its wings in a desperate attempt to hold itself aloft while carrying a letter bigger that itself. Itachi formed a clone which took the letter from the bird. It immediately dropped to the ground, panting.
Kisame watched as his teammate read the letter after his clone checked it. At the same time, Hari was using a technique Kisame and Kakuzu had taught the boy to create some water for the bird to drink. It was impressive progress, just a year ago, the kid would have turned the bird into a pile of bloody meat with that move. His adoptive nephew (the kid had ended up growing on him) had so much power in his coils that it was always amazing that he was able to develop such control. Kisame was actually a bit jealous.
"Hn." Kisame looked at his partner. That was unusual: Itachi rarely devolved into the famed Uchiha communication form. It was one of his best traits. "It appears that we will be having visitors soon who will be able to answer questions."
"So it seems."
The bird vanished and returned in two more explosions of fire. This time, there were two people with it. One of them had a comically long beard and a strange smile. "Hello, my name is Albus Dumbledore."
Three weeks later, Hari was back to his usual routine while waiting for the school year to start. It had been an interesting meeting. The middle-age lady (just out of cougar-years, according to Hidan) had stared at Kisame, first in horror and then in a sort of predatory fascination that had seriously disturbed the giant nukenin. The man who introduced himself as Dumbledore had explained that they wanted Hari to attend the school his parents (Hari had been quick to interject that these were merely the sperm and egg donors, to Dumbledore's quiet dismay) had attended and that in doing so, he would be able to learn how to wield magic. His father had been unusually quick to agree, but perhaps he wanted to see what his son would learn. His father had said it was something about spending time with people his own age or something like that, but Hari had taken it in stride; his father was a busy S-rank ninja and eventually would not be able to take care of him all the time, so learning extra skills could be useful.
He jumped straight into a double backflip, avoiding Air Pressure and Intelligent Hard Work (Uncle Kakuzu seriously needed someone to help him make up better names for his attacks) that turned the training field into a little pocket of hell. Hari began something he'd been practicing for more than a year. His hands blurred into signs, each working on a separate technique. He spat a Water Trumpet at his uncle and tossed in False Darkness before landing and running for cover, using his Byakugan to keep an eye on the man while he conjured a Water Dragon and Earth Dragon to leap out at his uncle.
Moments later, he was forced to avoid False Darkness coming at him as one of Uncle Kakuzu's hearts flanked him. The Water heart was probably out there, too. Joy. Both hands worked on the same technique this time as he gathered chakra and fired off a move he'd created: an invisible dragon made of wind roared as it shot forwards, slamming into the Lightning heart. "Shit. DAAAD!"
Itachi was suddenly next to him. "I just killed a heart. Help!"
"Kakuzu!" Itachi headed straight for the ancient ninja.
"I think we can call this spar."
"My son just obliterated your heart."
"Well shit." Kakuzu recalled his hearts. "Sonofa . . . Hari!" He glared at the figure in the distance, which was poised to run. "You killed my Lightning heart. Do you have any idea how annoying that is to replace?"
"Uh . . . heh heh?" Hari grinned sickly.
Kakuzu sighed. "Good work, brat." Then he was suddenly in front of Hari and punched him in the face. "When you wake up . . . eh. I've got nothing. I've got a heart to replace, see you Itachi." He walked off, muttering curses.
Itachi walked over and poked his son. Apparently he really was knocked out. Oh well. He scooped up his son and carried him back to the tower.
When Hari woke up, his father was sitting by his bed. "So, I've decided you should go a bit early. It will be good for you to have time to get used to the place you'll be spending time. Besides, it will give Kakuzu enough time to cool off.
"They left us a thing they called a 'portkey' they said would take you there. You can handle yourself. Think of this as a vacation. Try not to attract too much attention, like I've taught you. In other words, don't be Uncle Hidan. Or Uncle Kisame. Or Uncle Deidara. You know something: just be me or Uncle Sasori. In control, in other words."
So . . . as usual, this is a fic that came about because Spoon had some stupid question. In this case, she asked me "who would be the worst Naruto character to raise Harry?" My immediate response of Maito Gai was met with "been done". I still say it would have been hilarious. Anyway, so somehow we settled on Uchiha Itachi. And the effect of being raised by a bunch of professional killers too disrespectful, disreputable, or just plain insane to work with the official villages of professional killers . . . well, it made itself felt in ways. Hari mostly has aspects of Kisame (hit it with power), Sasori (pick your targets), Hidan (it's fun to offend), and Tobi (Tobi didn't put glue on your mask, Tobi is a good boy!). And his father's consummate skill.
(A/N John – Some notes)
So, there are a few notes on changes to canon beyond the obvious. The big one is that the massacre happened shortly after the Kyūbi's attack. Hence the comment that Sasuke would be the same age. Actually, that's about the only one that comes to mind.